The “Spring Blossom” Dress
This week, the traveling lace goes its farthest distance — to the Charlotte Dymock from Tuppence Ha'penny in the UK. Another sewing/vintage blogger with an incredible eye to details, Charlotte's fabric reproductions over at Spoonflower are quite inspiring! Thanks to Charlotte for participating in A Common Thread and sharing this totally romantic dress with The Sew Weekly!
Fabric: Vintage rayon fabric, gift from a family friend; Dupioni silk £14/metre, C&H Fabrics
Pattern: Advance 2515, in my stash (about $15 from ebay, as I recall)
Year: early 40s
Notions: Lace from Mena, metal zip from a bundle I got on etsy $1, silk thread £1.99, cotton thread £1.49.
Time to complete: About a week – I sew in very small increments so it's hard to keep track of actual hours spent.
Wear again? Definitely!
Total cost: about $33
When Mena contacted me about this project I jumped at the chance to be involved with the Sew Weekly. I was especially excited – if, I confess, a little intimidated – when I realised I would feature alongside Gertie, Casey, Lauren et al, 'celebrity' bloggers whom I've long looked up to. I'm very much a novice seamstress, so I must admit to feeling the pressure to live up to the quality of the Sew Weekly and the other contributors. I hope that with my Spring Blossom dress I've achieved this!
The fabric is a vintage dusky pink rayon shadow stripe seersucker with a rather Art Deco looking print. It's been hanging around my work room for some months now, ever since my mother brought it down with a few items a family friend was clearing out. I'd earmarked it for various patterns in my stash – I wanted to do this lovely fabric justice with a great 1940s pattern – before finally settling on Advance 2515 from the early 40s. I had originally planned to omit the lace on the collar and cuffs, but When Mena's lace arrived I knew this would be the perfect use for it. I selected dupioni silk for the contrast collar and cuffs (I'd planned on using a matte cotton shirting, but my local fabric shop didn't have any in ivory. In the end I quite like the contrast in textures that the silk gives).
The pattern I bought on ebay some time ago. I generally favour late 30s / early 40s fashions, and I get particularly excited about patterns from that period which feature shoulder yokes and gathered detailing – I've got a difficult body shape to dress, and I think these construction details flatter my figure.
Rather than use the trim flat I decided to machine gather the lace, then hand stitched it to the edges of the collar and cuffs. I think it completes a very feminine forties frock.
I work very slowly, but the dress itself came together pretty quickly and easily in terms of actual sewing. After making a fairly basic muslin of the bodice and skirt I made a couple of minor changes to the pattern – I adjusted the bodice slightly to add more room to the bust area and lengthen it a little, and shortened the skirt a couple of inches (my first time using the 'correct' method of taking length out of the middle so I didn't lose the fullness at the hem).
I'm so excited to have made this dress! So I'd like to thank Mena very much for involving me in the project and giving me the push I needed to actually use this fabric and pattern. There's just one or two small finishing touches I need to make: tacking the neckline facing down (as you can see in the first photo!) and the sleeve cuffs up.